We all have people who influence our lives at important junctures. For me, Bill Spurr was one such person. I am terribly saddened to learn of his death but celebrate a life that gave so much to South Australia and enriched the lives of so many people he worked with.


I was a young ministerial adviser and chief of staff when I first worked with Bill in the 1990’s, who was appointed chief executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission during this time.


Bill had trained as a metallurgist but ultimately gave his professional life to our hospitality, events & tourism industry. He did so with enormous passion for helping small businesses seize the opportunities of a growing visitor economy. Events like the Tour Down Under and many strategies to lure visitors and students to South Australia owe their success to Bill’s collaborative style of leadership and his absolute diligence to any task at hand.


As a leader Bill, or WT as I called him, always took the time to listen to those around him. As a former graduate employed by the SATC said to me of Bill in recent days, “he made it his business to know everyone’s name, he asked peoples views, thoughts and advice and actually cared about their answers.”


For me, as for so many others, Bill was always a sage source of advice, a calming influence when times were troubled and the provider of encouragement to strive for all that was possible.


Bill helped me move on from working in ministerial offices to other jobs in the hospitality and wine industries. Bill used to joke that he thought I’d be Treasurer one day. He happily reminded me of it after I became Finance Minister.


Thank you, WT, for a life so full of enthusiasm, professionalism and care. All of my condolences to Helen, Debbie, Craig and family. Vale Bill Spurr.